Over a quarter million gay and bisexual men died of AIDS between 1985-1995. Compounding the enormous losses was the emotional annihilation of the dying and their loved ones by a culture that shamed, hated and ignored them. In response, activists took to the streets, often undertaking intensely emotional and symbolic actions, using their most primal feelings as fuel for liberation. By turning rage into courage, shame into pride, grief into compassion, and devastation into determination, these people changed the course of the epidemic and evolved the consciousness of the LGBT community and the nation. In therapy, clients must often confront and process, externally and within themselves, the same kinds of denial, invisibility, shame, rage, shock and grief. Through storytelling, film, art and embodied action methods, we will explore how the practices used on the street can be applied in the counseling room.
Jason Holley, M.A., LPCC, is a depth therapist and astrologer in private practice in Santa Fe, and a faculty member at Southwestern College. His website is www.jasonholley.net
Christopher Johnson, M.A., LMHC, is a transpersonal psychotherapist in private practice in Santa Fe. His website is www.christopherlukejohnson.com